updated 3/16/2006 11:10:33 AM ET 2006-03-16T16:10:33

Guests:  Michael Gross, Matthew Tulley, Peter Fenn, Steve Emerson, Don Nickles, Damian Trujillo, Zahira Torres, Hunter Glass, Bill Maher

RITA COSBY, MSNBC HOST:  Joe Scarborough starts right now.  Joe?

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST:  Rita, I‘m very disturbed.  That looks an awful lot like the checks I get if the mail from NBC every two weeks.

COSBY:  That would be $2 billion.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:  Two billion dollars, but you‘re telling me that it‘s counterfeit.  How disturbing.  Thanks a lot, Rita.

Right now speaking of disturbing, for the president right now on

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the president is losing Middle America.  A political collapse for George W. Bush and the flailing Republican Party.  Katrina, ports, and Iraq.  All leading to big losses among the very people who elected the president.  Does it mean the end for the GOP‘s grip on power?  A new NBC poll says yes.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.

Thanks a lot for being with us tonight.  We‘re going to be talking about the president in just a minute.  Plus, gangs infiltrating the military, an FBI warning tonight that gang members are going into the military to get the urban warfare training they can use against police when they‘re back on the streets.  That‘s our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY investigation straight ahead.

Then Bill Maher, he‘s HBO‘s edgy funnyman and he‘s back with his provoking take on politics and pop culture.

But first, Iraq, Katrina, wiretapping and the ports deal.  Is it enough to put Democrats back in power?  A new poll says yes.  A new NBC News-“Wall Street Journal” poll just released shows only 37 percent of Americans approve of the job the president is doing, while 58 percent disapprove.

Meanwhile, and friends, this is staggering, been if politics a long time, I haven‘t seen anything like this.  A full 62 percent believe America is headed in the wrong direction.  While 26 percent say it‘s going in the right direction.  And a growing number of staunch conservatives are abandoning the president, so the question tonight, what‘s it mean for the man who received more votes than any other political candidate in American history just 18 months ago?

Let‘s go right to our all-star panel.  With us tonight, we‘ve got former Republican senator from Oklahoma, Done Nickles, we‘ve got MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan, we‘ve got Democratic strategist Peter Fenn and we‘ve got Matthew Tully from the “Indianapolis Star.”

Pat Buchanan, I want to start with you, you‘ve been with the president who has been in the middle of a freefall.  I remember my dad stayed with Nixon until the bitter end.  It wasn‘t until the day before he resigned that my dad finally gave up on him, but a lot of guys like my dad in Middle America are asking what‘s going on with this president.  It‘s not that they don‘t like him, it‘s not that they think he‘s corrupt, just more and more people are starting to think he‘s incompetent and not up to the job.  That is a disaster not only for the president but for Republicans in Congress, isn‘t it?

PAT BUCHANAN, FOX NEWS ANALYST:  Well, it really is, Joe.  It would be if the election were held today, I would think the republicans are in real danger of losing a tremendous number of seats and maybe one of those houses.  The problem for the president however when you consider the economy is moving at 4.5 percent, the stock market I think hit a recent new high just today.  The problem for the president is two things, the seeming hopelessness of Iraq and the horrible daily reports and weekly reports we get and secondly the new perception of incompetence.

What the president needs is something, Joe, that can put him back in a situation where he can show the kind leadership, command, control, that he did after 9-11, and that he did not do after Katrina.

SCARBOROUGH:  And you know, pat, as you know in politics, it‘s not usually one mistake that gets you either on the campaign trail or when you‘re president of the united states, but it‘s another mistake that reinforces a previous perception that‘s forming, so you‘ve got Americans thinking that Bush is incompetent on Katrina, then all of a sudden this port deal comes along, and doesn‘t that just solidify what too many conservatives were already thinking about this guy, I like him, I voted for him, but I wouldn‘t do it again?

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think that‘s right, Joe.  I mean, the problem with the ports deal is Americans woke up one morning and we‘ve been told we‘re warring with Islamofascism and you‘ve got red and yellow codes and we have got terror threats and wake up and all of a sudden they see the president is going to turn the East Coast ports over to a bunch of Arabs and Muslims from the Persian Gulf and people say what are these guys thinking of?

And so I think tremendously - that and Katrina tremendously undercut the president‘s reputation as a strong, decisive, on top of it leader and I think it‘s going to be a tough thing for him to win back.

SCARBOROUGH:  Don Nickles, it‘s going to be even tougher for Republicans in Congress to win back the Senate and the House, isn‘t it?  I mean, these numbers continue to drop.  America - 62 percent of Americans believe we‘re going in the wrong direction.  A lot of your former friends in the Senate and a lot of my former friends in the House are very nervous right now, aren‘t they?

DON NICKLES, FORMER SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA:  Well, I don‘t doubt that they‘re nervous but the election is not today, there‘s no question that President Bush had a rough month or two, but frankly he‘s also had some great victories and you mentioned discontent among the Republicans conservatives and so on, they have a lot to be very happy about.  I mean, the confirmation of Judge Alito, Justice Roberts, those are fantastic and guess what, that‘s going to be paying dividends in my opinion for decades and I‘m still elated about that.

I think about the fantastic job that they‘ll do for a long time and I‘m really excited about it.

We still have some work to do.  I mean, right now Congress is trying to pass and extend the 15 percent tax cut on capital gains and dividends, that has worked.  Pat Buchanan mentioned the stock markets hitting a high in a long time.  We‘ve created 4.5 million jobs in the last couple of years since we passed the ‘03 tax bill.  Those are big things.  Congress is trying to get it done.

SCARBOROUGH:  Senator, you and I both went from the minority to the majority in 1994 because Americans‘ perception of Bill Clinton was he was out of touch with Middle America and he was incompetent.  The economy wasn‘t doing too badly in 1994 when we took Congress back, was it?

NICKLES:  You might remember 1994, you also had—when we took control, you had President Clinton trying to pass one of the worst health care proposals ever, he tried a bunch of big tax increases.  You had a different scenario.  I don‘t see this as really incompetence.  I think there‘s a visceral attitude among the Democrats and some just piling on anything that happens.

The NSA, the national security arrangement where they said he‘s eavesdropping, you even have a senator now saying we should censure President Bush.  That is absolutely ridiculous.  We passed a resolution, I was there when we passed it after 1991, after September 11 that said—

2001, that we want to give the president whatever authority is necessary and appropriate to respond to the terrorists, and some people tried to say wait a minute that‘s an impeachable offense, to listen in on a conversation with al Qaeda, so you have a lot of piling on and maybe some of it is cumulative, but by and large, if you look, the president has put on good judges, he has got an economic package that has really moved the economy forward, they need to extend that package this week, next week.  If they do that, I think if you take care of the economy and on national security, continue turning over more of the authority in Iraq to the Iraqis, which they want to do and we‘re training them to do so, I think this would help a lot.

SCARBOROUGH:  Senator, national security has been the president‘s issue in 2000, it was Republican‘s issue in 2002, 2004, but this port deal has certainly hurt—let‘s go to Middle America.  I want to talk to a reporter from Indiana, and tell me if you will, Matthew Tully, how is the president doing out there?  What are his poll numbers like in the heart of America?

MATTHEW TULLY, “INDIANAPOLIS STAR”:  Well, not very good.  They‘re at 37 percent in Indiana right now.  We did a poll early this month and it found him to be at his lowest point ever in Indiana.  He‘s down from 55 a year ago.  People are restless here.

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re telling me 37 percent in Indiana.  I would guess if a president, a Republican president is at 37 percent in Indiana, that‘s about as bad as it gets, right?

TULLY:  No.  It doesn‘t get to 37 percent if you‘re a Republican president in Indiana.  Republican presidents and candidates have won in this state since 1964, it‘s not even close.  Bill Clinton actually in 1994, with the Republican revolution was happening, was at 37 percent.  That‘s how low this is.  We‘ve traveled the state a lot .

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s going on in Middle America?  Is it incompetence, is that why people in Indianapolis and across your state are piling up against Bush?

TULLY:  It‘s the same as everywhere else in the country.  There‘s a restlessness here.  People hear about the war every day, they don‘t see a way out.  There‘s a lot of concern about the budget.  His lowest numbers in our poll were on how he was handling the federal budget.  He was in the 20s.

People if his base saw that has kind of hope, that he was going to, you know, get this country on the right fiscal path and now they see the deficits in the spending and they don‘t see a way out of it and there‘s a big concern among the people who vote for him or would have voted for him, in the past.  They don‘t like what they see and then you add just the daily barrage of negative stories and bad news out of Iraq and the president is just not doing very well.

SCARBOROUGH:  Not good for the president and not good for his party.  Peter Fenn, you‘re a Democratic strategist, you look at all the things that have gone wrong for this president and we can talk about the budgets, you‘ve now got the White House going back to Congress, saying they need to increase the debt ceiling again now to over $8 trillion.  It‘s unspeakable.

I campaigned against a Democratic president that tried to raise the debt ceiling over $4 trillion.  We‘ve doubled it in about 10 years, but at the same time do you really think Americans are going to say gee I want to take care of this fiscal crisis, let‘s make Nancy Pelosi the speaker of the House?

PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  I tell you, Joe. I think it‘s a combination of things here for this president.  The trouble is the piling on is being done very heavily by the Republicans right now.  This president was at 91 percent with his Republicans last year.  He‘s now at 74 percent.

SCARBOROUGH:  Why is that?

FENN:  I‘ll tell you, I think it is this incompetence issue.  If you look at the new Pew Poll, they have a very interesting question.  They ask what one word would you say describes this president, and he has never had the “incompetence” word be the number one word before and that came out today in that poll, and I do think that what is happening is that they are looking at this as a whole, but this president is setting a record, which will probably go in the “Guinness Book of Records” for taking the large largest federal surpluses and turning them into the largest -- $286 billion giveaway bill, you know .

SCARBOROUGH:  And you‘re talking about an $8 trillion debt.  Pat Buchanan, that‘s unspeakable.  Is that one of the reasons why the president, if you look at the groups that the president is losing right now, the group that he‘s losing is a group that has to stay by any Republican president or else you don‘t get elected and that is white males.  They‘re abandoning the president left and right.  Why is that?

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think one of the reasons is what the gentleman just mentioned.  There‘s Iraq, the budget, Katrina, the competence issue.  But let me say this, Joe.  I looked at that poll in depth.  The nation is down on the Republican Party, it‘s down on Congress, but it has even less confidence in the Democratic Party.  What this president has got to do is find himself a battleground with the Democratic Party on philosophy and issues, like an Alito battle, find that battle for the fall, engage it and fight it all fall long, because I think—I don‘t think the country wants to elect a Democratic Congress right now.

What it is is sour on the GOP, sour on the president, sour on Bush-Cheney, I think they need a battleground.

Can I make one quick point there, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Sure.  Go ahead, Peter.

FENN:  The latest poll shows that they want a Democratic Congress over a Republican Congress, by 16 points.  That‘s almost unprecedented at this stage.  So you know, and Senator Nickles said though, we have almost seven months until this election, it‘s a while, but these are not good numbers.  They do want to replace the Republicans though.

SCARBOROUGH:  And senator, I want to follow up on what Peter just said.  You look at that number, Americans by a 16 point spread want Democrats to run Congress and it gets worse for the Republicans as you go issue by issue by issue.  The Democrats pound the Republicans on every single issue in this poll.  How do you turn that around?

NICKLES:  Well, one, we have to educate people.  Because when they start talking about—if they‘re concerned about deficits, I can tell you the Democrats, all they want to do is spend more money and raise taxes.  If you look at .

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re not doing too good on that, are we, senator?

NICKLES:  Frankly, we‘re making good progress.  What people don‘t know is frankly President Bush inherited an economy that was really stumbling.  We had a collapse in the stock market in the year 2000, NASDAQ went from 5,000 to 2,000 something, it just collapsed and revenues went with.

So President Bush had a tough time.  Plus he inherited 9/11, when you put that together, he had a couple really big hits on the economy.  He‘s turned that around.  He‘s created 4.5 million jobs, he has got revenues rising and rising substantially because we passed a 15 percent tax bracket on cap gains and dividends.  That needs to be extended.  That‘s the battleground that Pat Buchanan was talking about that Republicans are for fiscal responsibility and Democrats keep trying to spend more money.

SCARBOROUGH:  We are going to have to leave it there.  Senator Nickles, Peter Fenn, Pat Buchanan, Matthew Tully, thank you so much for being with us.  I would say unfortunately not only do the Democrats want to spend more money, Republicans want to spend more money too, the difference is, Republicans also want to cut taxes and it just doesn‘t add up.  We‘ve got a lot more coming up, including our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY investigation about how gangs are infiltrating our army.  Why?  Because they want to learn about urban warfare.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to our show.  Controversy out of New York, because Umar Abdul Jamil, the top chaplain for the New York City jail system has been suspended for two weeks without pay, for comments he made at a Muslim youth conference last April.  Take a listen to what this guy said.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

IMAM UMAR ABDUL JALIL, NEW YORK DEP‘T OF CORRECTIONS IMAM:  We have terrorists who are terrorists, but because they have the weight of legitimacy they get away with it.  We know that the greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House.  Without a doubt.

SCARBOROUGH:  Isn‘t that amazing?  You‘ve got a guy that works for New York City, the very city that was bombed on September 11, and you‘ve got this guy employed by taxpayers of New York calling the president of the United States the greatest terrorist in the world.  I wonder what families out in Queens and Brooklyn and the Bronx think who may have lost their loved ones on 9-11?  I‘d be very upset if my tax dollars were going to pay this guy‘s salary.

But get this.  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his decision not to fire the chaplain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, ® NEW YORK CITY:  Just because someone criticizes the government or makes comments that are construed as offensive, does not mean that that person is an agent of violence or an enemy of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what?  It is very offensive to me.  I want to bring in right now civil rights attorney Michael Gross, and we also have NBC terrorism analyst Steve Emerson.  Steve, you guys, your group, you guys were the ones that infiltrated this meeting and got this tape.  Talk about the speech, talk about what this man said.  Talk about other slurs that he made not only against our president and our country but also against Jews.

STEVE EMERSON, NBC TERRORISM EXPERT:  Well, Jalil was speaking at a Muslim

Student Association conference in Tucson, Arizona, April 15, 16, and 17th,

2005, and we were able to get someone to tape it at that point.  And his

whole entire speech - actually, there were two speeches that he made over a

period of two days, that were quite incendiary.  It‘s not just his

references to the president of the U.S. being a top terrorist.  But he

referred to Jamil al Amin (ph), a convicted cop killer as being set up.  He

referred to the Zionists who control the media, he referred to the kufar,

infidel.  Here is a man who is portraying the entire war on terrorism as a

war against Islam, the type of inflammatory rhetoric that leads followers

to carry out acts of violence.  AND

SCARBOROUGH:  And again, his job is to speak to Muslims in the jail system and other places and I want you to listen, I want everybody here as he continued his speech, I want you to listen to these anti-Semitic comments that he made.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JALIL:  We have to stop allowing, as the imam said, to be reactionary, the Zionists of the media to dictate what Islam is to us.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  So Steve Emerson, he is now telling his audience that there‘s a Jewish conspiracy, that Jews run the media in America, and that‘s why we have a warped picture of Islam.  Right?

EMERSON:  Unfortunately, that‘s exactly the way he was portraying it, and not taking any responsibility for the acts of violence carried out by radical Islam, projecting it all on the victims themselves.  What‘s bizarre, Joe, is how the mayor reacted, coming to his defense, affirming the right of free speech.  This is not a free speech issue.  It‘s a question of whether this is the right guy for the right job, whether he should be in the position .

SCARBOROUGH:  So what, is Bloomberg scared?  I mean, is this just an extension of the Taliban at Yale and these newspapers afraid to print the Muslim cartoon because of the riots?  Have radical Muslims cowed their opponents in mainstream America?

EMERSON:  I think that the issue is so pervasive and so deeply troubling about the issue of radical Islamic recruitment in the prison system and the whole issue of black-white relations in New York City that the mayor is trying to basically dance over this without really addressing the core problem here.  It‘s not a matter of free speech, because no one is suggesting he be fired.  The question is whether the top ecumenical religious person for the system should be the one making these types of comments or whether he should have a different type of job.  Maybe he should have a talk show.

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Gross, you have to agree with us on this one that it‘s very dangerous to have the top Muslim cleric going into jails making anti-Semitic comments and calling our leaders in America the greatest terrorists on the globe.

MICHAEL GROSS, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY:  No.  It‘s dangerous to suppress free speech.  Free speech, the heart and soul of what it means to be an American.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, he can say it, I just don‘t think taxpayers should pay for it.

GROSS:  Don‘t suppress free speech.  The fact that the person is employed by the government or anybody else doesn‘t mean he loses his right to free speech.  He‘s got permission in advance to make those speeches.  And he can make them and he can express his opinion, and he‘s not to get punished because he disagrees with you.  The Nazis can speak, the include Ku Klux Klan can speak.  We find the truth in this country in the marketplace of conflicting ideas.  Not by suppressing free speech.

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael, you know we wouldn‘t allow a Nazi, you know we wouldn‘t allow a member of the Ku Klux Klan to go into the prison system and make racist comments against blacks.

GROSS:  You have no evidence whatsoever of that.  What you have is he made a speech in Tucson, Arizona to Muslim students where he was invited to speak, he asked permission in advance and was told he could do that.  All of the other chaplains stood up yesterday and said he‘s an honest, decent, fair, not anti-Semitic and by the way, don‘t confuse Zionists and Jews and anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism.  Please.  That‘s like the Taliban and al Qaeda.  Two different things.

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about a distinction without a difference.

GROSS:  This is multicultural country here, not one place.

EMERSON:  This is the danger of multiculturalism, when you basically portray his speech .

GROSS:  There‘s no danger in multiculturalism.

EMERSON:  There‘s a danger .

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We have to have one person at a time speak.  Go ahead, Steve.  You‘re up.

EMERSON:  I just think that to portray this as just a simple issue of difference of opinion or free speech is missing the larger point.  No one is saying he doesn‘t have a right to utter his own views.  Which if in fact he really did not believe that these were reflective of his own agenda, why didn‘t he repudiate it and why didn‘t the mayor ask him to disavow the comments.  The problem really is it‘s not a matter of multiculturalism, it‘s a problem of real racism that he was uttering and exhorting his followers to carry out.  That‘s what the real problem .

SCARBOROUGH:  So Michael, this guy hates Jews, this guy hates the president of the United States .

GROSS:  When you disagree with the policy of any administrative official it is your patriotic duty to express your disagreement.  That‘s all he has done.  You did it just a few minutes ago but you did it with fancier language.  He uses language to Muslim students that is more radical than yours, but yours is just as incendiary because you are suppressing free speech.  I don‘t like that and it should be done and don‘t incite people to punish people because at the express their opinion.  We all benefit from being .

SCARBOROUGH:  We have to leave it there.  Michael and Steve I also appreciate your being here.

But friends, I just got to tell you this.  I disagreed with Bill Clinton an awful lot when I was in the United States Congress, I went on TV a lot, I talked about the president on policy issues.  I never called Bill Clinton a terrorist.  I never called Bill Clinton the greatest terrorist in American history.  I never called him the greatest terrorist in the world, because I knew that those type of remarks would inflame people that disliked Bill Clinton, would be irresponsible and could possibly lead to violence.

Now when Michael Gross says there‘s no difference between us debating politics an slandering the president of the united states or making anti-Semitic comments saying there‘s a Jewish conspiracy in the media, which he did, well if you can‘t tell the difference between those two things, then maybe you shouldn‘t be on TV, Mr. Gross.

Coming up next, new concerns from the FBI as a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY investigation about violent street gangs that are slipping into our military units.  Are they doing it to learn urban warfare?  Reporters say yes.

And Hillary Clinton for president?  That‘s one topic we‘ll be tossing to HBO funnyman Bill Maher.

He‘s in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  HBO‘s Bill Maher straight ahead on “Scarborough Country,” coming on the show to tell us why he will never support Hillary Rodham Clinton for president of the United States.  That and much more.

But first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know. 

COLETTE CASSIDY, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good evening, everyone.  I‘m Colette Cassidy.  Here‘s what‘s happening.

There will be no parole for Sirhan Sirhan.  The man who assassinated Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 has been denied parole for a thirteenth time.  A spokesman for the California parole hearings board described Sirhan as, quote, “very hostile.”

Saddam Hussein refused to answer prosecutors‘ questions as he testified for the first time at his trial.  During a rant, Saddam urged Iraqis to stop killing each other and fight American troops instead.  Eventually the judge ordered TV cameras turned offer and adjourned the trial until April 5.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced charges against 27 people allegedly involved in an international on-line pornography ring.  It featured live streaming video of adults molesting children.  Gonzales says seven molestation victims have been identified, including an 18-month-old infant.  Those charged are in the U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia.

And a judge in Sarasota, Florida sentenced Joseph Smith to death for kidnapping, raping, and killing 11-year-old Carlie Brucia two years ago.  A jury had recommended the death penalty.

Those are your headlines.  I‘m Colette Cassidy. 

Now back to “Scarborough Country.”

SCARBOROUGH:  Bill Maher in “Scarborough Country” to dish about everything from what‘s wrong with the Democratic Party to why he‘ll never vote for Hillary Clinton.

Later, why is it so easy for Mexican drug dealers to impersonate U.S. border agents?  It‘s because that‘s where the uniforms are made.  Incredible story.  Incredibly stupid.

Welcome back to “Scarborough Country.”  We‘re going to have those stories in just minutes.

But first, are violent gang members getting into our military units to learn urban warfare tactics they can use against police when they get out?  It‘s a story that we first brought you last fall.  And tonight the FBI in Texas is warning that gang members there are joining up with the goal of using their military training once they‘re back on the streets of America.

And there‘s evidence of this disturbing activity from North Carolina to northern California.

Let‘s talk about it and bring in reporters, Zahira Torres, who‘s writing about this in tomorrow‘s “El Paso Times.”  Also, Fayetteville, North Carolina detective, Hunter Glass.  We‘ve got Damian Trujillo.  He is from our NBC station KNTV, who did a major investigation on this growing problem.

And started, I think, Damian, that was back if November that you came on this show?

Talk about the extent of what you learned then and moving forward, what‘s happening with these gang members who are actually getting into the military to learn urban warfare so when they get out, they can use them against cops on the streets of America. 

DAMIAN TRUJILLO, REPORTER, KNTV:  That‘s right, Joe.  And you said it, urban warfare.  And now what does that mean?  It‘s street fighting.  We were stunned when we he heard about this.

There are lots of gang experts who are going around the country.   They are training the undercover gang cops, telling them to watch out for these military trained gang bangers, because it‘s happening.

Now the military denies this.  The Army says that it really looks at tattoos on applicants.  That it‘s not happening there.  The Marines told me it‘s not happening with the Marine Corps.  They say applicants are screened mentally, physically and morally.

They don‘t believe they have a problem here.  But gang experts tell me that if the military keep turning a blind eye to this, that it‘s really going to blow up in their face. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Damian, it seems to me that every time we get a different report about this, you‘ve got people that have hard evidence, especially law enforcement types, like the FBI that have hard evidence that this is happening, but the military is turning a blind eye to it.  They‘re afraid to admit that gang members are getting into the military.  Why is that?

TRUJILLO:  You know, that‘s a good question.  When I called the Pentagon they were shocked at my question, that I would even bring that question up.

So they referred me to some other people, recruiters, recruiting offices, and they‘re the ones that said, “Hey, look, we don‘t think it‘s not happening.  It‘s not happening because we weed them out if we find out that some of these applicants into our military forces have some sketchy backgrounds, we‘re not going to let them in.”  Experts tell us they are letting them in. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They are letting them in.  And, I mean, there‘s no way you can screen somebody, if they‘re a member of a gang and they want to keep it from you, it‘s pretty easy for them to keep it from you.

Now, friends, I‘m going to show you an example of just how deadly these Marine-trained gang members can be.

In January 2005, this guy, Andres Raya, a Marine with gang ties, shot and killed this man, Officer Howard Stevenson, near Modesto, California.

The incident was caught on tape.  And it shows that Raya clearly was using his military tactics to carry out the execution of this police officer.  And here he is running across the parking lot, shooting at the police officer.

Zahira, I want to bring you in here because you talked to the FBI.  They‘re very concerned about this, as we watch this tape roll, talk about the FBI‘s concerns. 

ZAHIRA TORRES, REPORTER, “EL PASO TIMES”:  Well, here locally our FBI officials are saying that, with the influx of soldiers through base realignment and closure, they‘re afraid that there will be a spike in gang activity.  They specifically pinpointed an alliance called the Folk Nation, which is an alliance between several gangs, including the gangster disciples and la Rasa. (ph) 

SCARBOROUGH:  And they‘re doing it, and in part they‘re getting in, as we‘ve said, to learn urban warfare and learn how to shoot at cops.  And, again, the video that we‘ve been showing is a perfect example of that.

Are members of the community concerned or is it just the FBI right now setting out these warnings so they know what‘s going on around these military bases?

TORRES:  Right now it‘s just the FBI setting out the warnings.  They say that locally we have about 80 members of Folk Nation who are actively committing crime.  Of those members, they did cite that there were soldiers and their families that were part of that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Very concerning.

Let‘s go to North Carolina right now.  Detective Hunter Glass.

Detective, this is happening in northern California.  It‘s happening in the heart of Texas.  You‘re saying it‘s also happening in North Carolina.  Tell us about it. 

HUNTER GLASS, DETECTIVE, FAYETTEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT:  Well, I‘ve been dealing with this for quite some time.  I‘ve been one of the forerunners on this.  I‘ve been seeing it for quite a few years, now.

Yes, it happens here in North Carolina.  We have information everywhere from, you know, Lejeune, Fort Bragg.  You get a lot of information and a lot of movement going in and out of Fort Bragg on a regular basis.

First became aware of it on a regular basis several years ago.  I still, to this very day, on a daily basis, I will get information coming and going off of Fort Bragg.

I just recently went to Washington and spoke with them, some members up there with the DCIS.  And NCIS, OSI and several other members were in there and there is a concern as to what‘s going on here.  It appears to be some system...

SCARBOROUGH:  Detective, talk specifics.  What‘s the biggest concern right now? Is it that they go in, they learn the urban warfare that we‘ve been hearing from Damian and other people, and then they go out on the streets and use it against you and police officers?

HUNTER:  Oh, yes.  Correct.  I mean, there‘s many different aspects to that.  They‘re learning the military tactics and they are utilizing them against us.  I mean, you have the video there from Howie Stevenson‘s shooting and there‘s other evidence.  We have other information.  I‘ve got pictures from gang members web sites; they speak highly of it.

So we‘re going to see more of this the more they come into the system. 

I had to defend myself in reference to the recruitment of gang members.  And I know this to be true, as I received a letter from a probation and parole officer with over 20 years experience in the California area, who recently wrote me, stating that recruiters had actually come to her, requesting that she sign a petition to pretty much expunge records of known gang members on probation and/or parole to join military ranks. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Detective, I want you to send a message out tonight to our leaders in the Pentagon.  They‘re pretending this problem is not occurring right now, that could cost the life of police officers and detectives like yourself in the future.

Tell our Pentagon leaders tonight just how problematic this is and what they need to do to clamp down on this problem. 

GLASS:  Well, this is quite obviously a problem.  And I know the military needs numbers, but we really need to quantify and qualify our soldiers as they‘re coming in.

I will speak in earn reference to the defense criminal investigative services.  They have contacted me and they actually hosted me up in Washington last week, to talk to them about this.

So there are some agencies that are very, very concerned in reference to this.  But we will—we will have to do something because I will assure you that we will see the ramifications from this over the next couple of years, and it will only get more extensive as it goes on. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.  Thank you so much.  I appreciate it, Detective.

Thank you Zahira Torres, Hunter Glass and Damian Trujillo.

This is obviously an issue that‘s very troubling, not only if you‘re talking about the military and the discipline there, but again what happens on our city streets after some of these gang members go into the military, come out and then go after police officers and possibly our families.

Let‘s bring in right now Tucker Carlson.  He‘s host of “The Situation with Tucker Carlson.”

Hey, Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”:  Well Joe as you well know, new poll numbers out today show the president at historically low approval ratings.  Is it a crisis? Is this really a problem?

We‘re going to talk to one of the smartest minds in American politics, a former member of Congress.  Quite a handsome man, too, Joe Scarborough will be joining us tonight.

Plus, another new poll—thank you for doing that, Joe, by the way—another new poll shows conclusively, Republicans are happier people than Democrats, regardless of income.  Really interesting.  We‘ll talk about what that means. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about what that means and see if they‘re still happy after the November elections.

CARLSON:  Yes, indeed, that‘s the point.

SCARBOROUGH:  Tucker, thanks a lot.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  And make sure to tune into “The Situation.” 

That‘s coming up straight ahead at 11:00.

When we have come back, Bill Maher, the comedian and host of HBO‘s “Real Time with Bill Maher” is here with his unique take on the world and Hillary Clinton.

And did jammed cell phones in movie theaters help Hollywood sell more tickets? Wait until you hear this one in “Fly Over.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  As you know, HBO‘s Bill Maher is funny and he‘s controversial.  He‘s got a lot to say about politics.

I recently spoke to the host of HBO‘s “Real Time” and I began by asking him what is going on with President Bush?

BILL MAHER, HOST, HBO‘S “REAL TIME”:  Nothing that hasn‘t been going on since he took office.  It‘s just people are noticing and some of his massive screw ups are coming home to roost.

You know, I feel—I know you‘re kidding me—but I really feel for some of my Republican friends because it seems like the Republicans are in two camps now.  The one camp has come around to admitting, “Yes, we made a colossal error back in 1999 when we backed an empty suit named George Bush, just because it was the same name as his father.”

Let‘s not forget, this is how the guy got the job.  They came to him with a poll in 19999 and said you know what, among Republican candidates you‘re leading.  You could be president.  And he said great do I have to run or do I apply or do I sign something?

You know, and then there‘s the 34 percent who—I don‘t know what would have to happen to change these people‘s opinion of George Bush.  He‘d have to, you know, invade “Scarborough Country.”

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘d have to invade “Scarborough Country,” or maybe shoot somebody in the face with a shotgun on a hunting trip.

So what does it say about the Democratic Party if George Bush is an empty suit in 1999, and he not only beats the best that the Democrats have to offer in 200, but also does it again if 2004?

MAHER:  Well, first of all, he didn‘t really beat them in 2000, did he?

SCARBOROUGH:  Whatever.  Yes he did. 

MAHER:  Well, he didn‘t win the popular vote.  That‘s indisputable.  And, of course, with all the cheating that went on in Florida, he didn‘t win that vote either.  But, OK, he got to be president.  And, look, I never defended Al Gore for that.  I said with what he had going for him; he should have won that election walking away.  So let‘s forget about 2000.

But, yes, you‘re absolutely right, and everybody knows it.  The Democrats are lame.  The Democrats are going to look like they‘re, at this point, going down the same road that they go down every year, which is to fish in the Republican pond instead of going after those millions and millions voters who would like an alternative, who would like something else.

Hillary Clinton talking about flag burning, talking about moving to the right on abortion, you know, violence in video games, all these issues to triangulate, to become a centrist.  That‘s never going to work.

People don‘t vote for the Democrats because they think they‘re too liberal.  People don‘t vote for the Democrats because they don‘t stand for anything. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to show our viewers what you had to say about the NSA Eavesdropping scandal.  I want our viewers to take a quick look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAHER:  If you‘re so worried about the privacy of your cell phone calls, stop making them when you‘re in line at Starbucks.  Oh, please.  Americans don‘t want privacy.  They want attention.  They‘ll put a camera in their shower and show it on the Internet.  To get on television, they‘ll marry strangers and eat a cow‘s rectum and ice dance with Todd Bridges.  They‘re trying to get on a show called Big Brother.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, my theory has always been, because I used to be very frustrated when I was on the judiciary committee, when Bill Clinton and Janet Reno would try to get these roving wiretaps, so they could tap people‘s phones and get access to information.  But I found that the attitude in middle America was if you ain‘t doing anything wrong, you don‘t have anything to worry about.

Isn‘t that the problem the Democrats have by talking about this NSA Eavesdropping story too, that most Americans just don‘t care?

MAHER:  Yes, but that‘s not right.  And you know very well, Joe, that that‘s not what our constitution says.  That‘s not the idea of the Fourth Amendment.  Hey, if you‘re going to...

SCARBOROUGH:  No, I‘m not talking about the constitution.  I‘m talking about the American people.

As I tell you, I was frustrated on the judiciary committee because you couldn‘t get it through people‘s thick skulls how dangerous this could be. 

MAHER:  I agree.  Look, I don‘t condone George Bush doing this.  The reason why I‘ve semi defended this is because of things like the port deal.  Because he handles homeland security so badly in every other way that I feel completely naked.

Do I think that wiretapping is the tool we should be using, illegal

wiretapping, to watch al Qaeda?  No, but if that‘s the only tool in his box

you know he‘s going to be president for three more years.  He‘s the guy in charge of our national security. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s end though on an even more lofty level and talk about what went on in the Supreme Court with Anna Nicole Smith. 

Do you think because she slept with an old man, she should get all of his money?

MAHER:  I do believe that she should get the money.  I think, in this country, we should reward hard work and she worked for it.  I mean, it‘s between her and the son.  The son did nothing but wait around for the old man to die.  Whereas she spent 14 months with that guy, and her case is basically, oh, I touched it, pay up. 

SCARBOROUGH:  There you go, Bill.  A strong believer in the puritan work ethic, and that hard work pays off.

Bill Maher, thanks so much for being with us.  As always, we greatly appreciate it.

MAHER:  Thank you, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up next, breaking news tonight in the case of that Ohio judge who let a child molester walk free.  Stick around for that and how we‘re making a difference.

And why are border agents wearing uniforms made in Mexico?  What a dumb idea.  That‘s coming up next on “Scarborough Country.” 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Time for another flyover of  “Scarborough Country.”

Friends, of course, these are the stories that may have fallen under the mainstream  media‘s radar, but certainly  not ours.

First stop tonight, the U.S.-Mexican border and  Homeland Security with its head  in the desert sand.

So, how bad are things in the battle to stop illegal immigration and terrorists from crossing into this country?   Pretty bad when it turns out that the uniforms worn by our border  patrol agents are actually made in Mexico.

Congressman Rick Renzi heard about this and immediately proposed a new law that required all uniforms to be made in the U.S.A.   What a radical thought.

Renzi says, for good reason, he‘s afraid illegal immigrants and terrorists could easily steal the uniforms and just walk across the border.

My question tonight?  Why didn‘t that dawn on anybody  until now?

And next stop, your local movie theater.  Theater owners faced with lousy ticket sales are asking the federal government  to jam cell phone reception in theaters claiming that movie goers are engaging in annoying conversations during the main feature.

Now the FCC prohibits the jamming of cell phones.  So our suggestion is, again, a radical one.   To have the owners of the movie theaters from coast to coast petition Hollywood to simply make better movies.

And, oh, yeah, one more thing.   From Pelham, Georgia, where cops say a man robbed a  convenience store wearing a  milk crate on his head, a milk crate.  Trouble is when this milk head suspect,  Marty Simpson, left the store, he tossed the milk crate off his head letting everybody see his ugly mug.

The whole thing was captured on a security camera and Simpson was promptly arrested two hours later.

Hey, Marty—got brains?

We‘re going to be right back and tell you how you can make America even better tonight.

Plus, “The Situation with Tucker Carlson” is just minutes away.   So stay with us.

Look at Tucker.   He‘s rocking out.  What‘s wrong with him?  Oh, my God.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Before we go, what you can do to make America even better.

Tonight, the Ohio judge who let a child rapist walk with no jail time is now one step closer to being thrown off the bench, thanks to you and viewers of “Scarborough  Country.”

Now breaking news, Ohio Governor Bob Taft, the Ohio House speaker and the Ohio attorney general are reviewing  the processes to remove Judge Connor either through impeachment or a  resolution in the general assembly.

But we still need your help.  This is how you can continue to put pressure on politicians.  Take a look at your TV screen, because an America, without Judge Connor on the bench, is an even better America.  Write, call, e-mail, make a difference.

And that‘s all the time we have tonight.

Let‘s go now to Tucker Carlson with “The Situation with Tucker Carlson.”

Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?

CARLSON:  Well, thanks a lot, Joe.  Don‘t go anywhere.  We‘re going to see you in about 45 seconds.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.

CARLSON:  Meanwhile, we‘re going to start tonight with those rumors of a huge shake up within the Bush administration.  

                                                                                                               

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

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